Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Arthur Knight


New Journalism and Direct Cinema reflect a unique conjoined moment in the evolution of nonfiction writing and filmmaking in the United States. I argue that these movements developed as a specific response to the shift from a modern to a postmodern aesthetic, a shift away from faith in a coherent reality at a historical moment, the 1960s. In an attempt to capture reality using new methods that would raise the status of nonfiction, writers and filmmakers in these movements call attention to process and "style." at first glance, these experiments with new styles appear radical; instead, New Journalism and Direct Cinema---in opposition to their "revolutionary" reputations---function to conserve traditional views of reality. Ultimately, I claim, their innovative narrative style and emphasis on process undermine their attempt to reinforce a correspondent relationship between print and film language and the "real" material world. However, the innovative methods of writers like Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote and filmmakers like Robert Drew, Albert and David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin sparked a discussion about genre, language, and representation that established specific expectations about nonfiction that continue to define documentary for readers and viewers into the twenty-first century.



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